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Jewish Journal

Ryan Torok

  • Synagogue parodies Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”

    7 hours ago

    What would Pharrell Williams think?

    Temple Judea, a large Reform shul in the San Fernando Valley, has parodied the singer’s hit song, “Happy,” in a new web video.

    The four-minute video features singing, dancing and great sportsmanship by the temple's clergy, staff and others....

  • Moving and shaking

    10 hours ago

    Dikla Kadosh has been appointed to the top leadership position of the Los Angeles chapter of the Israeli-American Council (IAC). Effective Aug. 25, Kadosh will succeed the IAC’s new national CEO, Sagi Balasha, as the L.A. regional director.

    The IAC, a national organization with...

  • Latino population welcomes Hebrew-language charter school in L.A.

    12 hours ago

    How do you say “ironic” in Hebrew? 

    Latinos account for 65 percent of the student population at the new Hebrew-language Lashon Academy Charter School — just a year after critics were saying the elementary school was too much like a Jewish day school to be receiving charter status...

  • Moving and shaking

    1 week ago

    Jewish education organization ORT America has appointed Igal Zaidenstein, an attorney, veteran fundraising executive and resident of Los Angeles, as the director of its West Coast region. 

    “I am excited to be taking the helm of this extraordinary organization with its long...

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  • Flier with swastikas found in Westwood

    1 week ago

    When a Jewish storeowner found a flier with swastikas on it underneath the door of his Westwood business on Aug. 12, it marked the third time this year that hateful fliers have found their way into public settings across Los Angeles, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

    ...
  • Event celebrating Max Steinberg draws nearly 1,000 to Saban Theatre

    2 weeks ago

    A memorial service for fallen Lone Soldier Max Steinberg at the Saban Theatre on Aug. 12 painted the area native as both a normal young adult and a hero, one who loved having fun, formed easy connections with others and whose quest to find himself took him to the Jewish homeland.

    ...
  • Moving and shaking

    2 weeks ago

    American Friends of The Hebrew University (AFHU) has promoted Sheri Kaufer, 54, to the position of executive director of its Los Angeles region.

    Kaufer, who formerly served as AFHU associate executive director of the L.A. region, succeeded Matthew Ross as of June 30. She said she...

  • Demonstrations over war on Gaza shut down Wilshire (video)

    2 weeks ago

    Pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched on Wilshire Boulevard today, closing down the street. Their ultimate destination was the headquarters of the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles.

    The Aug. 10 rally drew pro-Palestinian, anti-Zionist demonstrators. Photo by Ryan...

  • Moving and Shaking: University Synagogue hires new cantor, Rabbi Michy Rav-Noy’s half marathon

    3 weeks ago

    University Synagogue recently hired Cantor Kerith Spencer-Shapiro as its new cantor. 

    Spencer-Shapiro, who succeeds Cantor Jay Frailich, has big shoes to fill. Frailich served 40 years at the Brentwood Reform synagogue before retiring in June.

    Spencer-Shapiro, 44, said she has...

  • Los Angeles City Hall supports Israel

    3 weeks ago

    During a press conference at Los Angeles City Hall on Aug. 5, the city’s top leadership expressed solidarity with the State of Israel.

    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; City Controller Ron Galperin; City Attorney Mike Feuer; City Council President Herb Wesson and President Pre...

  • Pro-Palestinian protest in Westwood draws thousands, causes Wilshire to shut down

    August 2, 2014 | 3:05 pm

    [UPDATE – Aug. 4] Law enforcement made one arrest in connection with "sexual battery," according to LAPD-West L.A. Division Officer Hornback. No further details were available.

    Los Angeles County Sheriff Department estimated 1,500 people turned out to the event.

    [Aug. 2] On...

  • L.A. community marks 30 days since burial of Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifra and Naftali Fraenkel

    July 31, 2014 | 4:54 pm

    Prayer, reflection, advocacy and song marked the shloshim – the 30-day mourning period – of kidnapped and murdered Israeli teenagers Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifra and Naftali Fraenkel, when, on Wednesday night, Stand With Us, Temple of the Arts and the Israel Institute co-sponsored a...

  • Moving and shaking

    July 30, 2014 | 1:30 pm

    Herb Schultz has been named chief executive officer and president of Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center. With this hiring, effective Aug. 18, he leaves his position as regional director of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

    Herb Schultz. Photo...

  • Conflict in Israel heightens local security concerns

    July 30, 2014 | 1:12 pm

    Israel’s Gaza War has some Los Angeles Jewish institutions addressing security concerns. 

    At Adat Ari El, a Conservative congregation in Valley Village, Executive Director Michal Lesner said the institution is “boosting” security. This includes increasing the visibility of...

  • Two Los Angeles rallies held criticizing Israeli response in Gaza

    July 30, 2014 | 12:15 pm

    Yossie Khen, an Israeli based in West Hills, served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) decades ago during the Israel-Egypt War of Attrition, but he doesn’t believe the current conflict in Gaza can be solved with military action.

    “A viable Palestinian state in alongside [updated...

  • Anti-Semitic voicemail targets far-left Israel group

    July 28, 2014 | 3:48 pm

    L.A. Jews for Peace – a far-left organization that criticizes Israel’s policies toward Palestinians – has received a voicemail in which members of the organization are referred to as, “Jew traitors, filthy Jew traitors, bastard Jew traitors.”

    L.A. Jews for Peace representative...

  • Jewish groups denounce Israel during Friday rallies

    July 25, 2014 | 6:07 pm

    Jewish community members who are critical of Operation Protective Edge, an Israel military offensive in the Hamas-controlled enclave of Gaza that has claimed approximately 800 Palestinians lives and that of more than 30 Israeli soldiers, were among those who turned out to two Los...

  • Obama makes surprise visit to Canter’s Deli

    July 24, 2014 | 12:53 pm

    President Obama made a surprise appearance today at family-owned Fairfax district restaurant, Canter's Deli, where he took a break from fundraising.

    Obama arrived in Los Angeles yesterday and is here raising money for the Democratic party. 

    Apparently, he needed a matzah ball fix. During his visit to the L.A. landmark, the President "sat with a teacher, a wounded veteran and two women entering the job market," the Jewish Daily Forward reported.

  • Los Angeles’ reaction to Gazan fighting ranges from anxiety to empathy

    July 23, 2014 | 5:59 pm

    Rabbi Eliyahu Fink of Pacific Jewish Center in Venice was at a loss over how to respond to the latest crisis in Israel, namely, the country’s current war with the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave of Gaza.

    Then he found out about the Shmira (“Guarding”) Project, an initiative that...

  • Moving and shaking

    July 23, 2014 | 2:57 pm

    The University of California Board of Regents on July 16 approved pro-Israel UCLA student Avi Oved as its student regent-designate, a nonvoting position. 

    As a result of the vote, Oved will serve as student regent in 2015-16. In that capacity, he will hold “a student vote on the...

  • LAPD investigating robbery in Pico-Robertson

    July 17, 2014 | 4:47 pm

    The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is investigating an incident involving a stolen pickup truck and a stolen purse in the Pico-Robertson area. 

    Around 12:30 pm, a suspect, who LAPD described as a "black male, six-feet-tall and weighing 180-lbs, wearing blue jeans and a dark...

  • Avi Oved confirmed as UC student regent-designate

    July 16, 2014 | 4:30 pm

    The University of California Board of Regents July 16 approved pro-Israel UCLA student Avi Oved as its student regent-designate, a non-voting position.

    As a result of the vote, Oved will serve as student regent in 2015-2016. In that capacity, he will hold “a student vote on the...

  • Moving and shaking

    July 16, 2014 | 11:48 am

    Stephen S. Wise Temple’s Freedom School has, in part, the Los Angeles Dodgers to thank for $30,000 it received from businessman Howard Sherwood on June 29.

    “For Thirty Home Runs in May,” read a giant replica of a check from Sherwood, awarded during the Dodgers’ Jewish Community...

  • Violence at pro-Israel rally underscores passion over Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    July 16, 2014 | 11:11 am

    A sea of bodies jumped up and down to the beat of Israeli dance music. Tiny Israeli flags flapped in the sky. 

    On July 13, an Israel solidarity event organized by Stand With Us and the Israeli American Council (IAC) drew between 1,200 and 2,000 people — depending on who’s...

  • Pro-Israel rally at Federal Building to begin at 4 p.m.

    July 13, 2014 | 1:36 pm

    A pro-Israel rally at the Wilshire Federal Building, located on Wilshire and Sepulveda Boulevards, on Sunday, kicks off at 4 p.m. Click here for more information. Organizations 30 Years After; Stand With Us; and Israeli American Council; and others are sponsoring the event, and if...

  • Moving and shaking

    July 9, 2014 | 12:32 pm

    Five years after merging with Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center (PJTC), former members of Congregation Shaarei Torah in Arcadia were among those who took part June 22 in a symbolic Torah scroll procession from their old building to their new home.

    Since merging in 2009, PJTC has...

  • Stolen Tesla violently crashes into Kol Ami

    July 9, 2014 | 12:23 pm

    [UPDATE JULY 10]: Congregation Kol Ami executive director Sadie Rose-Stern expressed “sadness for the family” of the deceased, Joshua Michael Slot, who stole a Tesla on July 4 and crashed into Kol Ami. Slot died on July 7, according to a Cedars-Sinai spokesperson. 

    The car split...

  • Rallies at LA Israel consulate show strong feelings about renewed Israel-Gaza violence

    July 9, 2014 | 10:17 am

    Dueling rallies on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 7, outside the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles showed strong feelings about renewed Israel-Gaza violence.

    On the south side of the street at  11766 Wilshire Blvd., protestors held Palestinian flags, which flapped in a reporter’s...

  • Car crashes into Kol Ami in West Hollywood

    July 4, 2014 | 4:58 pm

    [UPDATE JULY 10]: Congregation Kol Ami executive director Sadie Rose-Stern expressed “sadness for the family” of the deceased, Joshua Michael Slot, who stole a Tesla on July 4 and crashed into Kol Ami.

    The car split into two after a collision with a traffic light post. The back...

  • Moving & Shaking: Hallelujah Global Jewish Singing Contest, Zane Buzby honored, Aish L.A. Gala

    July 2, 2014 | 4:22 pm

    The Hallelujah Global Jewish Singing Contest had its North American semifinal competition on June 17 at The Mark, an event space in Pico-Robertson. Ameet Kanon of Tarzana and Max Subar of Los Angeles tied for first place and will be heading to the finals in Israel in December. 

    ...
  • Germany expands Holocaust survivors’ pensions

    July 2, 2014 | 4:02 pm

    Recent changes to Germany’s ghetto pension law will expand the number of Holocaust survivors worldwide who are eligible for payments for labor they completed in ghettos and retroactively extend significantly the time period covered.

    The amendments adopted in June affect what are...

  • Thousands sign ‘No Unity Government with Hamas,’ a Simon Wiesenthal Center petition to Obama

    July 2, 2014 | 1:43 pm

    The Simon Wiesenthal Center has called on the Obama Administration to pressure President Mahmoud Abbas into ending the Palestinian Authority’s unity government with Hamas.

    Yesterday, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit released a petition, “Letter to President Obama – No Unity...

  • Moving and Shaking: Inaugural LAPD-Jewish community forum; ADL elects regional board chair

    June 25, 2014 | 3:39 pm

    The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Operations-Valley Bureau hosted the first-ever Jewish Community Forum on June 18 as part of an ongoing series of dialogues between the department and minority communities.

    More than 100 city...

  • Rabbi Wolpe and Craig Taubman’s final Friday Night Live

    June 18, 2014 | 12:21 pm

    For their last time, after 16 years of collaboration, Rabbi David Wolpe and singer/songwriter Craig Taubman led the lively musical Shabbat service at Sinai Temple known as Friday Night Live to a packed sanctuary on the evening of June 13. 

    They did not go out quietly.

    “This is...

  • Moving and Shaking: Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

    June 11, 2014 | 1:18 pm

    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem recently bestowed multiple honors on people with connections to the Los Angeles area. 

    Patricia Glaser, a member of the university’s international board of governors, received an honorary doctorate on June 8 in Jerusalem. The Malibu resident...

  • Issues-oriented, with a heart: Daniella Wenger

    June 11, 2014 | 12:52 pm

    Milken Community Schools
    Going to: UC Berkeley

    In a way, what Daniella Wenger wants out of life is simple: She wants it to be interesting.

    And she’s willing to work to make that happen, as she did earlier this year when she helped bring a day of TED-style talks to her...

  • Do you believe in ‘MAJIC’?

    June 11, 2014 | 10:58 am

    Milken Community Schools junior Avi Sholkoff had never been inside of a mosque.

    That changed when he participated in Muslim and Jews Inspiring Change (MAJIC), a program of the Los Angeles-based nonprofit NewGround: A Muslim Jewish Partnership for Change. Established two years...

  • Moving and Shaking: Stephen S. Wise Temple turns 50, David Geffen honored

    June 4, 2014 | 11:44 am

    Stephen S. Wise Temple’s 50th anniversary jubilee gala on June 1 at the Orpheum Theatre was a reminder of how far the community has come since its founding in 1964.

    “It was [Zionist leader] Stephen S. Wise who said you cannot have a good congregation unless you have good people...

  • Everybody has a story

    June 4, 2014 | 10:38 am

    FINDING HERSELF

    When Viktoriya Kernes was just 13, her mother sent her to a Jewish social event. Kernes had no idea why. 

    At the time, she did not know she was Jewish. 

    “I really didn’t know what to make of it,” Kernes, now 29, said recently of the discovery she made while...

  • L.A.’s Russians recapture their Jewish soul

    June 4, 2014 | 10:20 am

    In March, Svetlana Rapoport became a bat mitzvah.

    Raised in Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union, where practicing religion was discouraged and anti-Semitism was rampant, Rapoport hadn’t had the chance to celebrate this rite of passage.

    Finally, at 34, Rapoport had her...

  • Moving and Shaking: VBS honors Vets, Bob Blumenfield loves Israel, Marilu Henner honored

    May 28, 2014 | 11:51 am

    Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) honored 200 veterans during a special pre-Memorial Day Shabbat service on May 24. The program spotlighted veterans of World War II, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and conflicts in between. 

    Bea Cohen, 104, believed to be the oldest living female veteran...

  • Noam Shalit relives his son’s traumatic kidnapping

    May 28, 2014 | 11:05 am

    Everyone knows the story of Gilad Shalit, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier kidnapped by Hamas in Gaza in 2006 and freed five years later. But what about his family?

    The former captive’s father, Noam Shalit, told a crowd of more than 100 people on May 21 that the drawn-out...

  • Santa Barbara Hillel supports students in wake of shootings

    May 27, 2014 | 2:09 pm

    Approximately 40 UC Santa Barbara students sought comfort and grief counseling at the Santa Barbara Hillel on May 24,  the day after Elliot Rodger, 22, killed six students and injured 13 more. Rodger also died during his Friday night murderous spree of  “revenge” in Isla Vista, a...

  • Moving and Shaking: ADL’s Entertainment Industry Awards, Bend the Arc gala

    May 21, 2014 | 11:48 am

    Actress, producer and philanthropist Roma Downey, who was born in Northern Ireland, speculated that Jesus must have been Irish, too.

    “Many wonder if Jesus was Irish. He never got married, he lived at home until he was 30, and his mother thought he was God,” she said, speaking to...

  • Wolpe Vows he will no longer address issue of ethnic percentages

    May 21, 2014 | 9:08 am

    Rabbi David Wolpe pledged in a sermon during Shabbat services at Sinai Temple on May 17 that he would no longer address the question of how many members of the congregation are Ashkenazi or Iranian or any other ethnicity. 

    “We are 100 percent Jewish,” the Sinai Temple leader said...

  • Moving and Shaking: Obama at Shoah Foundation, Righteous Among the Nations Award given

    May 15, 2014 | 12:20 pm

    Recalling the horrors of the Holocaust, President Barack Obama urged nations to fight growing anti-Semitism and threats against Israel in his remarks on May 7 to 1,200 supporters of the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation. Obama called for “confronting a rising tide...

  • The ultimate bar or bat mitzvah playlist

    May 14, 2014 | 2:09 pm

    Tired of listening to Kool & the Gang at b’nai mitzvah parties? Here is a playlist of 13 songs that will bring the shy boys and boy-crazy girls to the dance floor, while following in the talmudic tradition of adding a little commentary to the big day.

    “When I Grow Up (To Be a...

  • A taste of summer camp for young Jewish Russians

    May 14, 2014 | 1:45 pm

    Several agencies are coming together in the hope that Russian-speaking children will begin their journey of Jewish self-discovery at Camp Gesher, a new overnight camp that caters to what it perceives to be a unique community.

    Gesher — an initiative of the Jewish Agency for...

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